The Lead

Dog law Senate bill ‘unlikely’ to move forward, aide to top Pa. senator says

By: - October 2, 2021 6:30 am

Pennsylvania dog license form (Capital-Star photo by Cassie Miller).

Despite a funding deficit more than two decades in the making, a bill to increase dog license fees and boost funding for Pennsylvania’s Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement, likely won’t see a vote this session. 

Legislation (SB 232) sponsored by state Sen. Judy Schwank, D-Berks, in February, is unlikely to see a vote in the Senate’s Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, her office confirmed Thursday.  

“Unfortunately, we’ve received no indication that SB 232 will be voted on in committee,” Spencer Thornburg, a spokesperson for Schwank, told the Capital-Star in an email. “Sen. Schwank continues to push her colleagues to support this long overdue and necessary fee increase, but right now it seems unlikely to be moving out of committee anytime soon.”

Schwank’s office could not speculate as to why the bill was not moving forward. 

The Capital-Star reached out to the state Senate Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee Chairperson, Elder Vogel, but did not receive an immediate response. 

State officials, including Department of Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding, have been advocating for an increase in dog license fees from $6.50 to $10 for an altered dog, to help fund the department’s Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement, an entity charged with helping stray animals, returning lost animals and monitoring breeders and kennels statewide. 

Currently, the bureau employs 45 dog wardens to Pennsylvania’s 67 counties, six supervisors and one full-time veterinarian. 

To temporarily cover costs, the department provided the bureau with $1.5 million in supplemental funding to maintain operations for the 2021-22 fiscal year. 

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Cassie Miller
Cassie Miller

A native Pennsylvanian, Cassie Miller worked for various publications across the Midstate before joining the team at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. In her previous roles, she has covered everything from local sports to the financial services industry.